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15 May 2013

Hackers stole $45 million in ATM card breach

They didn't use guns, masks or even threatening notes passed to bank tellers.

But an alleged international gang of cyberthieves managed to steal $45 million from thousands of ATMs in carefully coordinated attacks conducted in a matter of hours, federal authorities charged Thursday.

A four-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn charged that eight members of the alleged gang's New York City crew alone stole approximately $2.4 million from nearly 3,000 ATMs across the metropolitan area in secret strikes carried out on two days in February.

Federal prosecutors and investigators said the alleged attacks are known in the cyberunderworld as "Unlimited Operations" — because using sophisticated computer-hacking techniques enable those involved to gain access to virtually unlimited criminal proceeds.

The schemes involve hacking into the computer systems of credit card processors, stealing information involving prepaid debit card accounts and eliminating the withdrawal limits and balances of those accounts. The moves enable international organized crime cells that work in swift, surgically coordinated attacks to withdraw unlimited amounts of cash from ATMs before the operations are shut down.